The flow of glazes, both earthy and crystalline, on Josh Brown’s pottery echoes the bold and ephemeral colors in Sue Arnson’s paintings. This visual experience awaits you at the current exhibit “Friends – Pots and Paintings” at The Gallery Shop in downtown Oakland.
Josh has been inspired to work with clay nearly his whole life. After high school, he explored the United States by hitchhiking to 49 of our 50 states. He then pursued an academic degree in ceramics at the University of Minnesota. His apprenticeship experience, which included living in a cold, drafty room attached to an old barn, taught him harsh realities about life as a working artist. He changed direction, earned a degree in electronic technology, and toiled in that field for a decade. Eventually, Josh left to travel in Central and South America and ultimately landed in Frostburg, Maryland, where he soon returned to his artistic love – pottery. Josh became a professional potter in 1991.
When working with stoneware clay, Josh throws unique functional pots for everyday use. He has also perfected the challenging process of creating porcelain pots encased in jewel-like crystalline glazes. Crystalline glazes are mesmerizing, often evoking an explosion of iridescent petals, shimmering clouds of snowflakes, or colorful, icy ‘Jack Frost’ patterns. When the technique is mastered, crystals form spontaneously in the molten glazes and grow as the pieces cool in the kiln.
In 1986, after a teaching career in the Montgomery County Public Schools, Sue Arnson and her husband, Alan, realized their dream of living full-time at their idyllic getaway property in Bittinger, Maryland. The following year, they converted their rustic barn into The Loft Shop, a venue for local artisans to display and sell their handcrafted work.
During a vacation trip to southern Mexico, an impromptu silk painting workshop kindled Sue’s desire learn more about watercolor design and techniques. Back at home, she took several watercolor painting workshops including a class with Garrett County artist Jim McNeil. Jim’s sage advice was, “If you want to become a painter, paint every day for 5 years.” Sue adopted that as her mantra -- and an artist was born!
The barns, rural landscapes, and natural beauty of Garrett County are a constant source of inspiration. Over the years, Sue has expanded her artistic expressions to include monotypes and collages.
In addition to being an award winning artist, Sue shares her artistic talents, as well as her skills as an educator, by teaching watercolor techniques to aspiring beginners and mentoring fellow artists. A passionate supporter of the arts in Garrett County, Sue has served on the Garrett County Arts Council (GCAC) Board of Directors for 15 years, including 4 years as president. She played an instrumental role in establishing The Gallery Shop and continues to serve in a leadership role, guiding its exhibits and events in support of local artists. Sue also serves on the Garrett Lakes Arts Festival (GLAF) Board of Directors, and is an active member of the Allegany Arts Council and the Western Maryland Watercolor Society. In 2009, the Arnsons were awarded the Friends of the Arts Award by GCAC for their “exemplary support” of the arts in Garrett County.
Sue and Josh’s exhibit “Friends – Pots and Paintings” will be on display and these works available for purchase through September 28th. The artistic duo will be honored at an open-to-the-public reception at The Gallery Shop, 206 E. Alder Street, Oakland, Saturday, August 25 from 5:00-7:00 PM. For more information, contact 301-334-6580.